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FRENCH oil major Total on Friday launched its new lubricant oil-blending plant in Singapore, which is its largest in the world.
Located at Tuas Industrial Complex, the plant has the capacity to produce 310,000 tonnes per year of lubricants for automotive, industrial and marine applications mainly for its customers in the Asean region.
The new facility replaces Total's two lubricant plants in Singapore.
Total Oil Asia Pacific's president of marketing and strategy and new energies, Philippe Boisseau, said at the plant's opening ceremony: "With a population of more than four billion, Asia is for Total a key region of future energy demand growth. The lubricants market is expected to reach 20 million tonnes by 2025. Globally, the growth of our lubricants business is the most dynamic, boosting our international development."
The plant will also supply for its customers in China and India certain products that are not manufactured locally, added Francois Dehodencq, Total Oil Asia Pacific's senior vice-president and CEO of marketing and services.
Total first set up its oil trading and sales & marketing operations for lubricant products in Singapore in 1982. In 1991, it opened its first lubricant plant in Pandan, and in 1992, its second in Pioneer.
When fully operational, the new facility will double Total's lubricants production in Singapore, and increase its regional capacity by 30 per cent.
This will better enable Total to capitalise on the growing Asian lubricants market, which is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent per year to US$70 billion by 2020.
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean said at the opening event that the lubricants industry strengthens integration across the refining sector. "Our refineries produce the base oil that goes into the production of lubricants, while our lubricant additive manufacturers improve the performance of finished lubricant products.
"The lubricants blending plant adds significant value by integrating the intermediate inputs to produce high-value lubricants. Total's growing presence in Singapore thus strengthens and adds value across the entire energy and chemicals value chain."
Mr Teo also commended Total's attempts at making its new facility more sustainable.
The two-storey facility is also part of the Singapore Lube Park, Total's joint venture with oil majors Shell and Sinopec, whose plans were announced in 2013.
"It allows companies to save costs through shared operations and Singapore to optimise its limited land," Mr Teo said.
Meanwhile, automated filling lines raise the facility's productivity from five workers producing 160 drums per hour to two workers producing 250 drums per hour, Mr Teo added.
The energy and chemicals industry today accounts for a third of Singapore's manufacturing output, and employs 26,000 people in manufacturing jobs.
"As this industry competes globally, we have to continually look for ways to improve our competitive advantage to stay ahead," Mr Teo said.